Wife is My Caregiver, No Sex

By Joan Price | 17 January 2022

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Joan Price


Joan Price calls herself an advocate for ageless sexuality. She is the author of four books about sex and aging, including the award-winning Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex and her latest: Sex after Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality After Losing Your Beloved. Her award-winning blog has been offering senior sex news, views, and sex toy reviews since 2005. At age 76, Joan continues to talk out loud about senior sex—partnered or solo. She is the co-creator of “jessica drake’s Guide to Wicked Sex: Senior Sex”. Find Joan at https://joanprice.com.

"I am a 69-year-old male who has had a diagnosis of ALS for two years.  My wife is 65 and my primary caregiver. Her caregiving includes cooking meals, lifting me out of chairs and beds, managing meds, and being sure I haven’t fallen, since I can’t get up on my own."

"My wife’s 93-year-old mother also lived with us until her recent death. She had short term memory issues. My wife managed everything for her mother as well as for me."

"We have had a sexless marriage for approximately 24 years. I still have a libido, but my wife says hers is completely gone. She has agreed to my masturbating, but she’s reluctant to assist me or engage in any sexual activity with me."

"I have been able to masturbate a couple of times, which has eased some of my tension. But the problem remains that my wife has no interest in sex, and I have no solutions and feel ignored. Do we have any hope?"

Joan answers:

This is indeed a tough situation for both you and your wife. For readers who don’t know, ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive nervous system disease causing loss of muscle control. It affects nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain.

I understand your frustration — there’s so much you can’t do, and one thing you can still enjoy is sex, yet your wife can’t be your sex partner. I understand her point of view, too: she’s probably physically and emotionally exhausted by caring for you and, until recently, her mother. It’s common that when a marriage becomes a caregiving situation, the caregiver ceases to feel sexual towards the partner needing care.

You say that your marriage was sexless for more than two decades before your ALS diagnosis, so I would not hold out hope that your wife’s lack of sexual interest will change. Instead, invest in a good sex toy or two that you can use on your own, even hands free, like the PULSE SOLO LUX and the JETT. Perhaps you could also talk to your wife about inviting a mature sex worker or erotic masseuse to visit occasionally for a happy ending, if this appeals to you. (Your wife might enjoy being on her own for an afternoon, knowing you were in good hands.)

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